- Google Cloud has agreed to run a validator node on the Ronin network, an gaming-centric Ethereum sidechain.
- Ronin was attacked in March in one of the largest DeFi heists of all time. About 10% of the funds have been recovered thus far.
As Axie Infinity creator Sky Mavis works to further decentralize its Ronin network—a custom Ethereum sidechain designed for NFT-powered games—the Web3 startup has tapped one of the largest Web2 tech giants to help its cause.
Today, Sky Mavis announced that it has reached an agreement with Google Cloud that will see the cloud computing division of the international tech juggernaut run a validator node on Ronin. That means that Google Cloud will help secure the sidechain network and process transactions.
A Sky Mavis representative declined to share the specific terms of the deal. According to a press release, Google Cloud had already been the startup’s “strategic cloud partner” since 2020, but this is a new wrinkle in their relationship. Cloud solutions firm Searce will aid in the collaboration.
“Having implemented a play-and-earn concept that’s now inspiring further community co-creation and co-ownership, Sky Mavis is a strong example of how the cloud can enable blockchain technologies to yield innovation and value creation for individuals,” said Google Cloud’s Southeast Asia Managing Director Ruma Balasubramanian, in a release.
Google Cloud will be the 18th validator on Ronin, representing a doubling in the tally since the network lost $552 million worth of cryptocurrency in a high-profile March attack.
In that hack, five of the nine validators were compromised using hacked private keys, and the U.S. Treasury has blamed the North Korean state-sponsored hacking group Lazarus for the misdeed.
Sky Mavis seeks to reach a total of at least 21 validators for Ronin, and has also added firms like Web3 gaming guild startup Yield Guild Games, blockchain analytics firms Nansen and DappRadar, and leading metaverse investor and game publisher Animoca Brands.
Google Cloud has previously partnered with other blockchain and distributed ledger-based networks, validating transactions for video platform startup Theta Labs and joining the governing council for Hedera Hashgraph. In May, Google Cloud said that it had formed a Web3 team to help power blockchain applications.
Catching up with Axie Infinity
Axie Infinity is a monster-battling game built around collectible NFT assets, and the Ethereum game has yielded more than $4 billion worth of NFT sales to date.
The game’s play-to-earn economy has struggled since late 2021, however, with Sky Mavis launching an overhauled Origins version with enhanced gameplay and an optional free-to-play model.
On Thursday, blockchain analytics firm Chainalysis announced that more than $30 million worth of crypto funds stolen in March’s Ronin network hack have been recovered by investigators as they’ve been laundered through exchanges.
At current crypto prices, that’s about 10% of the total amount stolen in the crypto heist, which targeted the bridge connecting Ronin to Ethereum.